PET owners have claimed that dog theft is rife in the area.
Several Standard readers have come forward to tell how they have just managed to foil attampted thefts of their dogs.
The victims were persuaded to speak out after hearing about the callous catapult attack on a golden cocker spaniel which was captured on CCTV at the Elvendon Priory Estate, near Goring, last Tuesday.
Estate manager Chris Noys believes the intruders were attempting to steal one of his dogs. He added that he knew several people who had been victims of similar crimes, including a man in Henley who has had 14 dogs stolen from him.
He believes the offenders intend to steal the pets to be used for breeding or dog fighting.
“Something seriously needs to be done because so many of my friends have had their dogs pinched and never got them back,” he said.
“Dogs are like your kids. I’m lucky that I caught them. It’s just disgusting that they keep getting away with it.
“It happens all the time — a dog goes missing and is never found. I think sometimes they use them as fighting dogs.”
Mr Noys, a married father-of-three, said he was worried that members of the gang would come back to attempt another theft.
In a separate incident, a 66-year-old woman was chased by a man across the field adjacent to Benson Road and Cottesmore Lane near Ewelme in a suspected “dognapping” attempt in August.
She reported that two men got out of a small post office-style white van at the bottom of the field and one of them climbed over a gate and started running towards her. The woman ran away with her Labrador immediately.
The woman believed she had been watched while walking the same route two days previously. She had seen a Transit van parked in an area which usually has no vehicles on her previous outing and also noticed another dark-coloured car in the same place on the day of the incident.
She said: “I thought nothing of it at first but then as I was walking I saw a smaller white van speeding down a country lane before coming to a sudden halt.
My own idea was that the dark car was the look-out and I felt like it had been following me for a while.”
Aspen Weatherburn, who owns Naughty Mutt Nice dog essentials and grooming store in Henley, said a number of customers were worried about dog theft.
She said: “There’s a lot of concern around the area. I’ve heard of dogs being stolen for breeding purposes. Over the last two years it’s become a big issue and last year there was a big spate of Labrador bitches being stolen.”
Anyone with information should contact Thames Valley police on the non-emergency number 101.